‘US competes with China, Russia to remain the big dog on the block’

(L-R, front) U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Reuters / Alexei Druzhinin)
The US doesn’t see Russia as a real threat, but political and economic rivalry is behind its narrative as Moscow and Beijing are forming alternate poles of global power and finance, says Dr. Conn Hallinan, a columnist at Foreign Policy In Focus.

RT:The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is requesting some $15 million to "counter a revanchist Russia". By comparison, its combined efforts against the Islamic State would amount to $6.1 million. Doesn't this description of Russia seem a little exaggerated?

Dr. Conn Hallinan: That would be a mild term. If you read the document, it refers to “Russian aggression”, that’s a direct quote, “destabilizing Europe” and it uses the term “revanchist” now. That was the term the French used about Nazi Germany prior to WWII. So to suggest this is a little off the edge, it’s much more than an exaggeration. I think there are multiple agendas at work here. One of them is that the US pays about 70 percent of NATO’s costs at this point and they want to scale that down and so they are trying to get the NATO members to scale their contributions up to 2 percent of their budgets. Very few countries have done that. Poland is one of the few countries that have done that. The British have already announced that they have no intention of doing that. So part of this is scare tactic is to get NATO countries to come up with some more money. But I think the verbiage is really getting out of control, I mean you now have US paratroopers training the Ukrainian national guard, in Poland you have US special forces, in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. … [Carl] von Clausewitz once said that the realm of war is uncertainly (“War is the realm of uncertainty”) and I see it moving in that direction and it’s a little scary. One other point I think and it’s quite amusing is that in that statement about all the things the Russians are doing and that we are going to have fair and balanced reporting. Now that’s the slogan of Fox news - “fair and balanced reporting”. And Fox News is probably the most editorial of all of the American outlets. So I find it interesting that in a Congressional document they are actually advertising Fox News, one of the most inaccurate sources of news that you could possibly have in the US.

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RT:It's twice as much money as they're seeking to "counter the Islamic State narrative". Why is this?

CH: Well, it’s almost three times as much money. Again I think the reason is that for all of the talk about the Islamic State I do not think the US considers the Islamic State a threat. I don’t think that they see them as a real threat to American security. I think they are in competition with a number of countries in the world, Russia and China being the two most prominent. This is not about destabilizing Europe, the revanchism, Russian aggression any more than it is about the Chinese aggression in East Asia. What it’s about is the US wants to remain the big dog on the block and the competition for that right now is Russia and China. And both of those countries have established alternate poles of power and finance in the world - Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BRICS countries etc. And the US doesn’t like this, it doesn’t like this new Chinese bank which is formed up, doesn’t like it the bank which the Russians have put together for Central Asia. This has to do with economic and political competition. It’s not that we really think those countries represent a threat. The danger is if you talk in a certain way you may convince a number of people that that’s the way things really are, and that’s the danger of uncertainty and where mistakes can lead to some very bad things.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.